Real Sports returns Tuesday

hbo-real-sportsREAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL

GOES BEHIND THE SCENES OF THE “NBA ON TNT” STUDIO SHOW;

PROFILES FALLON FOX, THE FIRST OPENLY TRANSGENDER MMA FIGHTER;

INVESTIGATES ALLEGED UNSAFE DOG-BREEDING PRACTICES; AND

REVISITS THE INSPIRATIONAL STORY OF THE HOYTS

WHEN THE EMMY®-WINNING SHOW RETURNS APRIL 22, EXCLUSIVELY ON HBO

REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL, TV’s most honored sports journalism series, continues its 20th season with more enterprising features and reporting when the show’s 205th edition debuts TUESDAY, APRIL 22 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.

Other HBO playdates: April 22 (2:45 a.m.), 24 (3:00 p.m.) and 28 (10:30 a.m., 7:30 p.m., 12:30 a.m.), and May 2 (11:00 a.m.), 3 (10:30 a.m.), 14 (5:00 p.m., 4:40 a.m.) and 18 (8:00 a.m.)

HBO2 playdates: April 25 (10:45 a.m., 8:30 p.m.), 27 (1:15 p.m., 12:50 a.m.) and 30 (4:00 p.m., 4:00 a.m.), and May 6 (noon, 8:00 p.m.), 12 (11:00 p.m.) and 17 (10:15 a.m.)

HBO On Demand® availability: April 23-May 19

Segments include:

*NBA on TNT. It’s the most unpredictable, freewheeling and politically incorrect studio sports show on TV. The studio portion of “NBA on TNT” had its genesis in 2000 when the network landed former NBA star Charles Barkley, whose continued loyalty has enabled it to flourish. Ernie Johnson serves as the host and referee as analysts Barkley, Kenny “The Jet” Smith and Shaquille O’Neal debate sports, history, art and politics while reviewing the games at hand. It’s both the NBA’s longest-running coverage program, as well as TNT’s most-tenured show. REAL SPORTS correspondent Bernard Goldberg goes behind the scenes with the all-star crew at TNT’s Atlanta headquarters as the NBA playoffs approach.

Producer: Tim Walker.

*Fallon Fox. Boyd Burton was born into a conservative religious family in Toledo, Ohio, in 1975. Nearly 30 years later, after extended struggles with sexual identity issues, he underwent gender-reassignment surgery, and assumed the name Fallon Fox. Since turning pro in mixed martial arts 2012 and being outed by a reporter in 2013, Fox, 38, is now the most prominent transgender athlete in professional sports and a reluctant trailblazer for the transgender community. The reaction from the MMA community has largely been hostile, with many fans and fighters opposing her participation in the women’s divisions because they believe her male attributes provide an unfair advantage. Despite the scrutiny, Fox continues to fight. In this REAL SPORTS/Sports Illustrated segment, correspondent Mary Carillo goes one-on-one with Fox to learn about her struggles for acceptance and legitimacy in a sport where many still view her as a man.

Producer: Jake Rosenwasser.

            *Producing Perfection. The Westminster Dog Show is one of the country’s oldest sporting events, and certainly the most adorable, but more than 20,000 dog shows are held nationwide each year. While the sport’s growth is a boon for fervent dog lovers, it may not be as rewarding to some of the dogs themselves. During competition, animals are judged on how closely they represent the “breed standard,” and some critics say this leads to the questionable breeding of dogs for beauty over health. Soledad O’Brien leads this REAL SPORTS examination of the world of competitive dog shows and the sport’s repercussions on dog health, in and outside the show ring.

Producer: Jason Samuels.

            *Long May You Run. Introduced to REAL SPORTS viewers in Mary Carillo’s Sports Emmy®-winning 2005 segment, New Englanders Dick Hoyt and his son Rick have given new meaning to the term “family bond.” Rick was born in 1962 after a complicated labor in which a coiled umbilical cord cut off oxygen to his brain. Rejecting doctors’ recommendations to institutionalize him, the Hoyts were committed to raising their son as normally as possible, believing Rick had a healthy mind despite his physical handicaps. With the help of Tufts University, which developed cutting-edge technology allowing Rick to communicate through head movements, the Hoyts discovered he was a natural sports fan. In 1977, Dick pushed his son’s wheelchair through a five-mile benefit run and found the race gave Rick the miraculous feeling of being able-bodied. Dick subsequently dedicated his life to giving his son that experience as often as possible, and the two have been regulars at road races and triathlons ever since.

After more than 30 years of competition, when Dick’s body could no longer take the pounding, they decided to retire from longer endurance races. Intending to finish in 2013 where they began, at the Boston Marathon, the Hoyts were unable to complete the run when bombs exploded. This year, joined by REAL SPORTS correspondent Mary Carillo, they’ll be back in Massachusetts to finish their final Boston Marathon.

Producers: Nisreen Habbal, Joe Perskie.

REAL SPORTS was the sole sports program recognized by the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication with a 2012 George F. Peabody Award for broadcast excellence. In addition, it is the only sports program ever honored with two duPont Awards, first in 2005 and again in 2012.

REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL debuted April 2, 1995 and has gone on to win the Sports Emmy® for Outstanding Sports Journalism 15 times, receiving 25 Sports Emmy® Awards overall.

Follow REAL SPORTS updates on HBO.com/realsports and facebook.com/realsports, or join the conversation on Twitter using #RealSports. Immediately following the debut of this month’s show on April 22, viewers can log on to hbo.com/realsports for a special overtime session hosted by Bryant Gumbel.

The executive producer of REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL is Rick Bernstein; Joe Perskie is senior producer.

###

24/7 Pacquiao/Bradley 2: Series finale this Thursday

hbo-logo

Show #3 (series finale)

Debut: THURSDAY, APRIL 10 (8:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m. ET/PT)

Other HBO playdates: April 11 (10:30 a.m., 8:00 p.m.), 12 (9:30 a.m.), 16 (5:00 p.m.), 18 (12:45 a.m., 2:00 a.m.) and 19 (10:00 a.m.)

HBO2 playdates: April 10 (midnight), 11 (1:45 a.m.), 12 (3:30 p.m.), 13 (midnight) and 16 (8:45 p.m.)

It’s fight week and the “24/7” cameras, along with prizefighters Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley Jr., arrive in Las Vegas.

All three parts of 24/7 PACQUIAO/BRADLEY 2 run back-to-back Saturday, April 12 on HBO, starting at 8:30 a.m.

“Pacquiao vs. Bradley 2” takes place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, April 12 at 9:00 p.m. (ET)/6:00 p.m. (PT), and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View®.

 

Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel returns Tuesday

hbo-logoREAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL

INVESTIGATES NCAA STUDENT-ATHLETE ACADEMIC REFORM;

PROFILES THE SCHIMMEL SISTERS OF LOUISVILLE’S BASKETBALL TEAM;

GOES ONE-ON-ONE WITH ENDURANCE RUNNER DIANE VAN DEREN; AND

EXAMINES ADVANCES IN PROFESSIONAL BULL RIDING

WHEN THE EMMY®-WINNING SHOW RETURNS MARCH 25 ON HBO

REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL, TV’s most honored sports journalism series, continues its 20th season with more enterprising features and reporting when the show’s 204th edition debuts TUESDAY, MARCH 25 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.

Other HBO playdates: March 25 (3:45 a.m.), 28 (9:30 a.m., 5:00 p.m.) and 29 (10:45 a.m., 12:45 a.m.), and April 3 (1:30 p.m., 8:00 p.m.), 6 (9:30 a.m.) and 9 (7:00 p.m., 1:30 a.m.)

HBO2 playdates: March 27 (5:15 p.m., 8:30 p.m.) and 31 (3:15 p.m., 1:00 a.m.), and April 2 (7:00 a.m.) and 13 (3:15 p.m., 11:00 p.m.)

HBO On Demand® availability: March 26-April 14

Segments include:

*Gaming the System. In 2003, the NCAA instituted an academic reform initiative to reemphasize a commitment to the education of all student-athletes, mandating that schools graduate a majority of each team, or face punishments ranging from a loss of scholarships to a ban on postseason play. Later that year, the NCAA eliminated the requirement that student-athletes have a minimum SAT score of 820, which was determined to hurt the chances of minority acceptance in athletic programs. Lower admission standards, coupled with higher graduation requirements, meant that many top-flight schools needed to commit resources for learning specialists to ensure their student-athletes measured up.

What resulted, however, fell short of expectations. REAL SPORTS’ investigative team spent six months vetting the multi-million dollar academic advising centers, which operate as “schools within schools” and are responsible for enabling student-athletes with elementary educations to graduate from big-time universities. Correspondent Bernard Goldberg reports on some alarming discoveries. Among the programs examined in the story are the University of North Carolina, University of Memphis and University of Oklahoma.

Producer: Josh Fine.

*The Sisters Schimmel. A force in women’s basketball, the University of Louisville hopes to return to the Final Four for the second straight year after earning a three-seed in this year’s tournament. The Cardinals are led in part by two sisters who hail from a little-known basketball hotbed in the United States: Native American reservations. The older sibling, All-American senior guard Shoni Schimmel, is widely expected to be a top pick in the WNBA draft next month. Junior guard Jude Schimmel is the team’s reliable sixth woman.

The Schimmels grew up on the Umatilla reservation in Pendleton, Ore., where basketball is considered their national pastime. But while basketball talent, tradition and passion are abundant on reservations, success stories are not. Native players have been stereotyped as undisciplined on and off the court, while some refuse to leave the reservation’s insular world, both factors that have discouraged big-time recruiting. In this REAL SPORTS/Sports Illustrated segment, correspondent Jon Frankel sits down with the Schimmel sisters to learn about their journey from the reservation to the spotlight of high-profile college basketball.

Producer: Jason Samuels.

            *Run to Health. In her late 20s, former professional tennis player Diane Van Deren was diagnosed with epilepsy after suffering a grand mal seizure. To control and cope with her condition, she began running whenever she felt the aura of another oncoming event. Her life changed forever at 37, when Van Deren underwent a partial ring temporal lobectomy, which removed the portion of the brain causing the frightening and debilitating seizures. But the brain damage caused by a decade of repeated trauma was permanent.

Unexpectedly, she acquired the ability to run like never before. As she trains daily, Van Deren’s damaged brain retains little short-term information. She often has no idea where or how far she runs, which can be helpful in a race of more than 100 miles, but not so useful when she needs to recall daily details like where she parked her car. REAL SPORTS correspondent Andrea Kremer heads to Colorado to learn more about the 53-year-old Van Deren, now one of the world’s top ultra-marathoners, and understand how her brain limitations have facilitated her success.

Producer: Chapman Downes.

            *Thrill Ride. Featuring real-life cowboys who give their all to remain atop a 2000-pound wild bucking animal, bull riding is widely recognized as the most dangerous eight seconds in sports. When REAL SPORTS first visited the Professional Bull Riding (PBR) tour in 2009, the debate over requiring riders to wear helmets to help prevent concussions and other traumatic brain injuries was heating up. Recently, correspondent Jon Frankel headed to the 2014 PBR season opener in New York City, featuring the world’s top 35 bull riders. REAL SPORTS’ cameras captured a new PBR, in which most of the top riders have traded in their Stetsons for helmets and new riders are required to wear them. Frankel asks whether bull riding is now a kinder and gentler sport, and what this means for its maverick brand.

Producers: Nisreen Habbal, Tim Walker.

Real Sports returns to HBO Tuesday

hbo-logoREAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL

EXPLORES MARIJUANA USE IN THE NFL;

GOES ONE-ON-ONE WITH FORMER NFL MVP BOOMER ESIASON; AND

PROFILES SACRAMENTO KINGS OWNER VIVEK RANADIVE

WHEN THE EMMY®-WINNING SHOW RETURNS JAN. 21, EXCLUSIVELY ON HBO

REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL, TV’s most honored sports journalism series and the only sports program recognized last year with a prestigious George Foster Peabody Award, kicks off its 20th season with more enterprising features and reporting when the show’s 202nd edition debuts TUESDAY, JAN. 21 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.

Other HBO playdates: Jan. 21 (2:15 a.m.), 23 (noon, 7:00 p.m.), 25 (11:45 p.m.), 26 (8:30 a.m., 5:25 a.m.), 28 (5:15 p.m.) and 31 (9:00 a.m.), and Feb. 3 (8:00 p.m.) and 8 (9:45 a.m.)

HBO2 playdates: Jan. 22 (4:45 p.m.), 25  (11:15 a.m.) and 31 (10:45 p.m.), and Feb. 4 (11:00 a.m., 11:00 p.m.), 7 (4:45 p.m.), 9 (3:00 p.m.) and 13 (1:00 p.m., 1:55 a.m.)

HBO On Demand® availability: Jan. 27-Feb. 17

Segments include:

*High Times. On Jan. 19, the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos will host their conference championship games in the only states in the U.S. that have legalized marijuana. Despite this decriminalization, the recreational drug is still prohibited by all NFL teams, and sparks headlines year-round, as players have been arrested for possession or suspended for failed drug tests. REAL SPORTS looks into marijuana use around the league and finds that players prefer it for pain management to opiate-based painkillers like Vicodin and Oxycodone, while research indicates it offers potential benefits to traumatic brain injury victims. This begs the question: Has America’s most popular sport reached a tipping point with America’s most popular drug? REAL SPORTS correspondent Andrea Kremer examines the issue as the league prepares for Super Bowl XLVIII.

Producers: Chapman Downes.

*Boomer & Gunnar. In spring 1993, Norman “Boomer” Esiason’s life changed forever. While attending a mini-camp for his new team, the New York Jets, Esiason received a call from his wife telling him that their chronically ill son, Gunnar, had been admitted to the hospital and was on a respirator. Following a diagnosis of cystic fibrosis, Esiason made two calls: first to his father in his hometown on Long Island, and the second to journalist Frank Deford, who had endured his own daughter Alex’s death from cystic fibrosis when she was eight years old.

At the time, the nine-year NFL veteran and former league MVP considered retiring to spend more time with Gunnar and the rest of his family. Instead, the four-time Pro Bowler decided to use his high profile to establish a foundation to fight the disease by raising money and awareness. Twenty years later, the 52-year-old remains a visible presence in the sports community as a drive-time radio host on WFAN in New York, an NFL analyst on Sundays for CBS, and a “Monday Night Football” radio broadcaster for Westwood One, while 22-year-old Gunnar recently graduated from college. In this REAL SPORTS/Sports Illustrated segment, correspondent Frank Deford sits down with Esiason to learn more about his years fighting the good fight against cystic fibrosis, the Boomer Esiason Foundation’s massive success in raising more than $100 million dollars, and the inspiring bond the two men share as fathers.

Producer: Nick Dolin.

*Sacramento’s King. In 2011, after rumors began circulating that the Sacramento Kings’ owners, the Maloof family, sought to relocate to Anaheim, city officials began to fight for the team’s future in Sacramento. And in 2013, when it looked like Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer would buy the Kings and move them to Seattle, Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA player himself, called on software titan Vivek Ranadive for help. Ranadive subsequently outbid Ballmer, paying more than $500 million, a record price, for the Kings and officially rededicated the franchise’s future in Sacramento. REAL SPORTS correspondent Bernard Goldberg goes one-on-one with the savior of Sacramento, and learns more about the man who took valiant strides to keep the Kings there.

Producer: Jordan Kronick.

World Championship Boxing Season Premiere Saturday Night on HBO

hbo-logoHBO BOXING® JOURNEYS TO MONTREAL FOR A

COMPELLING SHOWDOWN WHEN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING®:

JEAN PASCAL VS. LUCIAN BUTE AND MIKE PEREZ VS. CARLOS TAKAM IS SEEN SATURDAY, JAN. 18

            American fight fans will see the biggest bout in Canadian boxing history when the action-packed doubleheader WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING: JEAN PASCAL VS. LUCIAN BUTE AND MIKE PEREZ VS. CARLOS TAKAM is presented SATURDAY, JAN. 18 at 10:15 p.m. (live ET/tape-delayed PT) from the Bell Centre in Montreal, exclusively on HBO. The HBO Sports team will call all the action, presented in HDTV and in Spanish on HBO Latino.

Other HBO playdates: Jan. 19 (8:30 a.m.) and 21 (midnight)

HBO2 playdates: Jan. 19 (4:00 p.m.) and 20 (11:00 p.m.)

In the historic main event, the country’s top rivals, Jean Pascal (28-2-1, 17 KOs) and Lucian Bute (31-1-0, 24 KOs), meet in a 12-round, 175-pound spectacle originally slated for May 2013. The 31-year-old Pascal has never backed down from a challenge, confronting American stars Bernard Hopkins and Chad Dawson with supreme confidence. Bute, 33, has displayed flashes of brilliance as a super middleweight, and will now test his power in the light heavyweight division.

The evening opens with a battle of highly touted heavyweights, as Mike Perez (20-0, 12 KOs) of Cork, Ireland, takes on Carlos Takam (29-1, 23 KOs) of Noisy-le-Grand, Seine-Saint-Denis, France in a scheduled ten-round bout. Coming off a November win, Perez, 28, seeks to preserve his undefeated record and power-punch his way to a shot at a heavyweight crown. Boasting an impressive 11-fight win streak, including eight by knockout, Takam is making his HBO and Canadian debuts.  He is sharp having scored a third round KO win over Jakov Gospic on Dec. 20.

All HBO boxing events are presented in HDTV. HBO viewers must have access to the HBO HDTV channel to watch HBO programming in high definition.

Follow HBO boxing news at hbo.com/boxing, on Facebook at facebook.com/hboboxing and on Twitter at twitter.com/hboboxing. Use the Hashtag #PascalBute to join the conversation on Twitter.

® WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING is a registered service mark of Home Box Office, Inc.

###

Episode #3: 24/7 Red Wings/Maple Leafs debuts Saturday Night on HBO

hbo-logoDEC. 28 EPISODE

            Episode #3

Debut: SATURDAY, DEC. 28 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT)

Other HBO playdates: Dec. 28 (3:25 a.m.), 29 (8:45 a.m.), 30 (7:00 p.m., 2:30 a.m.) and 31 (2:30 p.m., 10:00 p.m.)

HBO2 playdates: Dec. 29 (11:30 p.m.) and 30 (1:30 p.m.)

Detroit heads to Toronto for the teams’ only head-to-head competition prior to their much-anticipated Jan. 1 outdoor showdown.

For the first time, all four episodes of the HBO Sports HD presentation debut in prime time, on consecutive Saturday nights. The series finale debuts Saturday, Jan. 4, three days after the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, with cameras tracking all the drama of game day in Ann Arbor, Mich. The series is also available on HBO On Demand and HBO GO.

With 17 Sports Emmys®, “24/7” is the most-honored sports series of the past six years. At the 2012 Sports Emmy® Awards, the series received the Dick Schaap Writing Award for “24/7 Flyers/Rangers,” while “24/7 Penguins/Capitals” won the Sports Emmy® for Outstanding Edited Sports Special in 2011. Launched in 2007, the earliest editions of “24/7” were devoted to boxing.

The executive producer of 24/7 RED WINGS/MAPLE LEAFS: ROAD TO THE NHL WINTER CLASSIC is Rick Bernstein; senior producer, Dave Harmon; coordinating producer, Bentley Weiner; producer, Thomas Odelfelt; writer, Aaron Cohen; narrator, Liev Schreiber.

homeboxoffice.com

###

Episode 1, 24/7 Red Wings/Maple Leafs: Road To The NHL Winter Classic

nhl-logoHBO SPORTS® AND THE NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE JOIN FORCES FOR

24/7 RED WINGS/MAPLE LEAFS: ROAD TO THE NHL WINTER CLASSIC,

A FOUR-EPISODE, ALL-ACCESS SERIES

DEBUTING SATURDAY, DEC. 14 ON HBO

          HBO Sports’ groundbreaking “24/7” reality franchise, which has captured 17 Sports Emmy® Awards, again joins forces with the National Hockey League for the all-access reality series 24/7 RED WINGS/MAPLE LEAFS: ROAD TO THE NHL WINTER CLASSIC, debuting SATURDAY, DEC. 14 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO. The rivalry reaches its apex when the teams meet in the sixth edition of the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® on Wednesday, Jan. 1 at the University of Michigan football stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich., where the stage will be set for more than 100,000 fans to attend the outdoor event.

Episode #1

Debut: SATURDAY, DEC. 14 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT)

Other HBO playdates: Dec. 14 (4:30 a.m.), 15 (8:30 a.m.), 16 (5:30 p.m., 2:25 a.m.), 17 (2:00 p.m., 9:00 p.m.), 18 (5:00 p.m., 11:00 p.m.), 19 (midnight), 20 (11:45 p.m.) and 21 (11:00 a.m.)

HBO2 playdates: Dec. 15 (midnight), 20 (9:00 p.m.) and 30 (11:30 a.m.)

Head coaches Mike Babcock of the Red Wings and Randy Carlyle of the Maple Leafs, along with a host of key players, are in the spotlight as the two clubs battle through busy December schedules.

For the first time, all four episodes of the HBO Sports HD presentation debut in prime time, on consecutive Saturday nights. Episodes two and three debut on subsequent Saturdays, Dec. 21 and 28, at the same time. The series finale debuts Saturday, Jan. 4, three days after the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, with cameras tracking all the drama of game day.

With 17 Sports Emmys®, “24/7” is the most-honored sports series of the past six years. At the 2012 Sports Emmy® Awards, the series received the Dick Schaap Writing Award for “24/7 Flyers/Rangers,” the third Sports Emmy® for the “24/7” NHL franchise. Launched in 2007, the earliest editions of “24/7” were devoted to boxing.

The executive producer of 24/7 RED WINGS/MAPLE LEAFS: ROAD TO THE NHL WINTER CLASSIC is Rick Bernstein; senior producer, Dave Harmon; coordinating producer, Bentley Weiner; producer, Thomas Odelfelt; writer, Aaron Cohen; narrator, Liev Schreiber.

###

HBO Replay of Paquiao vs. Rios

hbo-boxing

HBO SPORTS® PRESENTS THE  REPLAY OF

MANNY PACQUIAO VS. BRANDON RIOS

SATURDAY, NOV. 30

          HBO Sports presents MANNY PACQUIAO VS. BRANDON RIOS, the replay of their hard-fought welterweight fight, SATURDAY, NOV. 30 at 10:15 p.m. (ET/PT) on HBO.  The HBO Sports team, which was ringside for the live coverage from the Venetain Macao’s CotaiArena in Macau, China, calls all the action, available in HDTV.

The highly anticipated fight between two of boxing’s most accomplished pros was carried live Saturday, Nov. 23 on HBO Pay-Per-View®.

Immediately following the replay, HBO presents the previously announced “Boxing After Dark” doubleheader of light heavyweight title fights from Quebec City, featuring Adonis Stevenson vs. Tony Bellew and Sergey Kovalev vs. Ismayl Sillakh.

Other HBO playdates:  Dec. 1 (3:30 p.m.) and 2 (12:25 a.m.)

HBO2 playdates: Dec. 1 (8:45 p.m.) and 3 (11:00 p.m.)

® BOXING AFTER DARK is a registered service mark of Home Box Office, Inc.

Sport in America: Our Defining Stories debuts Thanksgiving Day

sport-in-america-HBOHBO, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED AND Endgame Entertainment PRESENT

Sport In America: OUR DEFINING STORIES,

DEBUTING THANKSGIVING DAY,

THURSDAY, NOV. 28, exclusively on HBO®

            HBO, Sports Illustrated and Endgame Entertainment, in association with Playground, present SPORT IN AMERICA: OUR DEFINING STORIES, an all-new documentary that examines how the universal thread of sport unites us as a people and has shaped America’s character. The special debuts on Thanksgiving Day, THURSDAY, NOV. 28 (6:00-7:35 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO, when families from coast to coast gather to enjoy the holiday and share sports.

Other HBO playdates: Dec. 2 (1:00 p.m.), 7 (10:15 a.m.), 11 (noon), 15 (3:30 p.m.) and 20 (5:15 p.m.)

HBO2 playdates: Dec. 2 (1:00 p.m.), 7 (10:15 a.m.), 11 (noon), 15 (3:30 p.m.) and 20 (5:15 p.m.)

Also available on HBO On Demand® and HBO GO.

“This is one of the most wide-ranging sports projects that HBO has launched, and we are delighted to collaborate with such prestigious partners, who share our passion for storytelling,” said Rick Bernstein, executive producer, HBO Sports.

Sports Illustrated is proud to be part of this outstanding documentary,” said Paul Fichtenbaum, Editor, Time Inc. Sports Group. “It embodies the emotional storytelling and deep appreciation for the events that helped shape generations of sports fans, which has been at the heart of our enterprise for nearly 60 years.”

James D. Stern of Endgame Entertainment and Adam Del Deo, who have previously collaborated on several titles, including “Every Little Step,” which was shortlisted for the Academy Award®, are directing and executive producing the special with executive producers Colin Callender of Playground and Terry McDonell. The compelling project explores our national character and shared history through the prism of sport and seeks to answer why it is such an integral part of the American culture.

“HBO and Sports Illustrated have been terrific partners on this film and we’re thrilled to announce the Thanksgiving Day premiere date,” stated Stern. “Sport speaks as a unifying language and is one of the only aspects of modern life that crosses lines of gender, race and privilege, giving us a real window into who we are.”

The filmmakers collected thousands of personal stories from fans who have been part of sports’ most transcendent events to create a tapestry of stories reflecting our culture. It examines what these events meant to us, why they moved us, why they inspired us and what they tell us about who we are.

The presentation includes interviews with Billy Bob Thornton, Mike Tyson, Steve Kerr, Frank Deford, David Maraniss, Ron Shelton, Curt Menefee, Michelle Beadle, Summer Sanders, Jerry Reinsdorf and many others, featuring stories from a fan’s perspective. Thornton recounts throwing out the first pitch to St. Louis legend Bob Gibson before a Cardinals home game, tossing a slider he learned to throw as a young boy from a book by the Hall of Fame fireballer.

Do you recall how it felt when a hobbled Kirk Gibson hit a rocket into the right-field stands to win game one of the 1988 World Series? The moment when Jim Abbott, born without a right hand, threw a no-hitter for the New York Yankees in 1993? Or Brandi Chastain’s signature overtime goal in the 1999 World Cup?

Collecting poignant remembrances from fans across the nation, the 95-minute film covers a wide spectrum of the American sports landscape, including baseball, football, hockey, tennis, basketball, boxing, high school athletics, the Boston Marathon and the Olympic Games. Landmark moments revisited include the 1972 tragedy at the Munich Games, the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, Hank Aaron breaking the major league baseball home run record, the grace of Roberto Clemente, the emergence of women’s sports in America via Title IX legislation, the Red Sox ending their World Series drought in 2004 and the extraordinary night of the first NFL game played at the Superdome in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. SPORT IN AMERICA: OUR DEFINING STORIES ranges from the historic achievement of Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympic Games to the extraordinary comeback by the Chicago Blackhawks in the decisive game of the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals.

HBO Sports presents in association with Sports Illustrated an Endgame Entertainment production; producers, Christopher C. Chen, Cameron Jewell and Fernando Villena; executive producers, James D. Stern, Adam Del Deo, Terry McDonell and Colin Callender; created by James D. Stern, Adam Del Deo and Terry McDonell; directed by James D. Stern & Adam Del Deo; music by Nathan Johnson; edited by Fernando Villena and Jay Gartland.

 

Bryant Gumbel’s Closing Commentary – Episode #200

hbo-real-sportsBRYANT GUMBEL CLOSING COMMENTARY

EPISODE #200

AIRS TONIGHT (11/19) @ 10:00 PM ET/PT

“Finally tonight, a few words about words. Between the NFL’s locker room flap in Miami and the tweets of the NBA’s Matt Barnes, the use of the N-Word seems to be on everyone’s lips these days. So for the jocks of all colors, I’d like to offer a few guidelines or personal truths gleaned from over 40 years in locker rooms and 65 years of being black.

Truth #1 – No matter what color you are, no one can give you a pass to say the word. Not once, not ever. Passes don’t exist and you shouldn’t even want one.

Truth #2 – Be smart! Using the N-Word says a lot about you and none of it is good. It just advertises your ignorance.

Truth #3 – Pronouncing it with an ‘A’ after the ‘double G’ in the word because you’re with your boys makes you no more ‘with it’ than the clown who pronounces it with the ‘-er’.

Truth #4 – Being young is not an excuse. The word’s use as a weapon to define, demean, and destroy millions of people should never be forgotten. If you need help remembering, check out the new film 12 Years a Slave and you will never view the N-Word the same way again.

Lastly, stop believing in fairy tales. That old kids’ line: ‘sticks and stone may break your bones, but words can never hurt you?’ Not true.”

#